Thank you for your interest in the New Levant Initiative, and our Levantine Symphony No. 1
The New Levant Initiative was honored to present distinguished trumpeter and composer Ibrahim Maalouf in the world premiere of his impassioned composition, Levantine Symphony N°1.
Heralded by The New York Times as a “virtuoso of the quarter-tone trumpet,” Maalouf gracefully marries musical traditions from his native Lebanon and his adopted France, blending Levantine melodies with modern jazz improvisations. In 2016, he performed at the Lincoln Center, alongside pianist Frank Woeste, saxophonist Mark Turner, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Clarence Penn, in an unforgettable tribute to Oum Kalthoum, the legendary Egyptian vocalist.
The New Levant Initiative commissioned Levantine Symphony N°1 to celebrate the vibrant and shared identity of the Levant. Maalouf describes this musical composition as an ode to the Levant. Built as a hymn of sorts – both delicate and powerful, both Near Eastern and influenced by the West – it seeks to link all of the Levantine cultures in their commonalities and modern spirits. There is a global culture which the Levant recognizes, embraces, and interacts with. And so, this contemporary symphony is rooted both in tradition – in classicism and in the values that shape its identity – and in modernity, in the popular cultures of our age that are universal.
Maalouf’s musical vision, virtuosity, and ability to synthesize the true essence of Levantine identity, embodies the openness and creativity of the Levant. With his new work, Maalouf weaves together the threads that bind the people of the Levant together not only in music and poetry, but also in a shared collective identity and memory, with the hope that a progressive and integrated new Levant will thrive once again.
Jamal Daniel and the New Levant Initiative are proud to present Ibrahim Maalouf’s “ode” to the New Levant. We thank you for joining us.